By Dominique Jando
Melinda Merlier was born Melinda Fölnagy in Tatá, Hungary, on September 1, 1968. When she was ten years old, she enrolled in Budapest’s State Circus School, where she received her formal schooling as well as her training in all circus disciplines.
In 1985, she met Olivier Merlier, a French student who had just enrolled in the school. Melinda and Olivier began to work together on an acrobatic . In April 1988—two months before their graduation—Olivier and Melinda were married in Budapest. A few months later, they made their professional debut at the old Hansa Theater in Hamburg, Germany.
In January 1988, Olivier & Melinda presented their brand-new act at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. Although they didn't win a medal, they caught the attention of the Big Apple Circus's talent scouts, who invited them to join the circus's resident company in the United States. A year later, they made their debut as part of the Big Apple Circus's summer tour.
Olivier & Melinda stayed at the Big Apple Circus until 1992, participating in company ensembles. They performed their acrobatic as well as a duet. They separated at the end of the 1992 summer tour, Olivier returning to France. Melinda, a versatile acrobat, remained in the Big Apple Circus's resident company until 1998, appearing in an astonishing variety of acrobatic acts, from floor acrobatics to , contortion to dancing with elephants. During this period, she became romantically involved with a talented acrobat in the company, Carlos Guity.
After leaving the Big Apple Circus, Melinda went on to work at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. She was featured in an aerial act with Maxim Panteleenko in Cesar Aedo’s The Flight of the Condor. Having married Carlos Guity in June 2001, she left The Flight of the Condor to give birth to her son, Noah, in April 2002.
Melinda later returned to SeaWorld, where she performed a web act and an act in another show, for which she also worked as company manager. The show closed at the end of August 2008, after a five-and-a-half year run. Then, Melinda went on to study massage therapy. She is also an ACE certified personal trainer and a pilates instructor.
Melinda, Carlos, and Noah currently reside in Orlando, Florida.
- Biography: Olivier & Melinda
- Video: Olivier & Melinda, duet in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989)
- Video: Melinda Merlier, Comedy , with Les Casaly and Taso Stavrakis in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989)
- Video: Olivier & Melinda, Acrobatic and Act in the Big Apple Circus production of Ballerinas, Horses and (1990) ...
- Video: Olivier & Melinda, Act in the Big Apple Circus production of Greetings from Coney Island (1991)
- Video: Melinda Merlier in The Contortion Doll with Jeff Gordon and John Lepiarz, in the Big Apple Circus production of Goin' Places (1992)
- Video: Acrobats and Elephants in the Big Apple Circus production of The Medicine Show (1996)
- Video: Melinda Merlier and the Woodcock Elephants in the Big Apple Circus production of The Medicine Show (1996)
- Video: Melinda Merlier and the Big Apple Circus Company with the Woodcock Elephants in the Big Apple Circus production of Twenty Years! (1997)
- Video: Melinda Merlier, Regina Dobrovitskaya, Carlos Guity & Julian Stachowski, Living Statue Act in the Big Apple Circus production of Twenty Years! (1997)